How to Treat Decay & Cavities

Tooth decay starts small but can become a big issue if left untreated. Early detection and treatment of decay and cavities can save you money and time, and prevent pain and additional health issues.

In this blog post, we discuss the stages of treatment for tooth decay and give some cavity prevention tips.

  1. Remineralization
  2. During your biannual dental checkups, we can use X-rays and a clinical examination to detect areas of tooth decay in their early stages. We can provide tips to help you remineralize these areas through improved oral hygiene and perhaps some dietary changes, such as consuming fewer acidic beverages. We can also apply a special varnish of fluoride on your teeth to help strengthen them.

    Tooth remineralization is the natural repair process that occurs in your mouth. Saliva deposits minerals like fluoride and calcium into the crystalline mineral structure of your enamel, the outer layer of teeth, to harden and fortify it against damage. Enamel that is temporarily weakened can often be remineralized with no further intervention needed (besides maintaining your improved oral health habits).

  3. Tooth-Colored Fillings
  4. Decay that has permanently damaged enamel looks like a tiny hole, called a cavity. It can’t be remineralized but can be cleaned and sealed with a dental filling. This simple treatment will prevent the cavity from getting bigger.

    Southwest Smiles utilizes tooth-colored fillings that blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth!

  5. Root Canal Therapy
  6. If a cavity doesn’t receive early treatment, it can continue to grow and cause the inner tooth, called the pulp, to become infected. The pulp is a soft bundle of nerves and blood vessels. A damaged pulp will usually need to be repaired with root canal therapy. The inner pulp is removed and your tooth is flushed of bacteria and debris. Then, the tooth is sealed with either a filling or a natural-looking dental crown.

    While this is more invasive than the natural remineralization process or a dental filling, don’t worry–root canal treatment is a virtually painless procedure thanks to modern anesthetics!

  7. Tooth Extraction
  8. When a decayed tooth cannot be saved with root canal treatment, it will need to be removed.

    Fortunately, there are many realistic-looking tooth replacement options, such as a dental bridge, partial denture, or a dental implant, that can fill in this gap.

How to Prevent Cavities

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss your teeth every day
  • Visit Southwest Smiles every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Avoid tobacco products and sugary gum

Schedule Your Routine Checkup!

Southwest Smiles, your family dentist in Austin, TX, is dedicated to giving you the best dental experience possible. If you need to schedule your six-month dental checkup or are suffering from a toothache, contact us today! We are here for all your family’s oral healthcare needs.

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